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Court of Appeals judges participate in conference April 19-20 in Frankfort

FRANKFORT, Ky., May 7, 2018 – Kentucky Court of Appeals judges participated in sessions on judicial opinion writing, implicit bias, cybersecurity law, domestic violence/human trafficking and best practices of other state appellate courts at the 2018 Kentucky Court of Appeals Conference that took place April 19-20 in Frankfort. The conference was held at the Administrative Office of the Courts.

Court of Appeals judges who attended the conference were Chief Judge Joy A. Kramer, Chief Judge Pro Tem Denise G. Clayton, and Judges Glenn E. Acree, Robert G. Johnson, Allison Jones, Irv Maze, Christopher Shea Nickell, Gene Smallwood Jr. and Jeff S. Taylor.

The event also offered sessions for Court of Appeals staff attorneys, case managers and other staff. Court of Appeals judges and their staff are based in offices in their districts. The judges are divided into panels of three to review and decide cases, with the majority deciding the outcome. The panels travel throughout the state to hear appeals.

The judges and staff look forward to spending time together at our annual conference to discuss the work we’re doing across the state,” Court of Appeals Chief Judge Joy A. Kramer said. “The opportunity to learn about the latest issues and share information means we return to work with fresh energy and ideas.”

Pastor Edward L. Palmer Sr. provided an in-depth session for all conference attendees on implicit bias. Implicit bias refers to stereotypes and attitudes about race, gender and other traits that affect how a person who is unconsciously biased views and makes decisions regarding others. Palmer is chairman of the Kentucky Subcommittee on Equity and Justice for All Youth. The session was designed to help participants identify, manage and mitigate personal and systemic biases.

The cybersecurity session covered types of threats, class action cases, recent appellate decisions in cases involving data breach claims, and the impact of data breaches, including the 2017 Equifax breach.

Executive director Gretchen Hunt of the Office of Victims Advocacy at the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office provided the course on domestic violence and human trafficking to help judges and staff understand the dynamics of coercion and fear from a victim’s perspective.

The judges also had the opportunity to hear from Professor Allison Connelly of the University of Kentucky College of Law about recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court that are significant for the Court of Appeals. 

The conference included a ceremony to recognize 73 employees for their years of service in working for the court system. The years ranged from less than one to 31 years.

Conference presenters included Court of Appeals judges and AOC staff. AOC Judicial Branch Education and the Court of Appeals Education Committee worked together to provide the conference. Judge Clayton was the conference chairwoman.

Kentucky Court of Appeals
The Kentucky Court of Appeals, along with the Supreme Court of Kentucky, was formed after the 1975 enactment of the Judicial Article that created Kentucky’s unified court system. Fourteen judges, two elected from each of the seven appellate districts, serve on the Court of Appeals for terms of eight years.

Nearly all cases heard by the Court of Appeals come to it on appeal from a lower court. If a case is tried in Circuit Court or District Court and the losing parties involved are not satisfied with the outcome, they may ask for a higher court to review the correctness of the trial court’s decision. Some cases, such as criminal case acquittals and divorces, may not be appealed. In a divorce case, however, child custody and property rights decisions may be appealed. With a few exceptions, most cases appealed from Circuit Court go to the Court of Appeals. The case is not retried at the appeals level. Instead, the original trial record is reviewed, with attorneys presenting the legal issues to the court for a decision.

When the Court of Appeals publishes its rulings on cases, those rulings become the governing case law for all such similar cases in the trial courts of Kentucky.

Administrative Office of the Courts
The AOC is the operations arm for the state court system and supports the activities of nearly 3,300 court system employees and 404 elected justices, judges and circuit court clerks. As the fiscal agent for the state court system, the AOC also executes the Judicial Branch budget.

The appellate districts and counties the judges serve are:

Chief Judge Kramer and Judge Jones serve the 6th Appellate District (2nd Division and 1st Division, respectively), which is made up of the Northern Kentucky counties of Bath, Boone, Bracken, Campbell, Carroll, Fleming, Gallatin, Grant, Harrison, Henry, Kenton, Lewis, Mason, Nicholas, Oldham, Owen, Pendleton, Robertson, Shelby, Spencer and Trimble.

Judges Acree and Johnson serve the 5th Appellate District (2nd Division and 1st Division, respectively), which is made up of the Central Kentucky counties of Anderson, Bourbon, Boyle, Clark, Fayette, Franklin, Jessamine, Madison, Mercer, Scott and Woodford.

Judges Clayton and Maze serve the 4th Appellate District (2nd Division and 1st Division, respectively), which is Jefferson County.

Judge Nickell serves the 1st Division of the 1st Appellate District, which is made up of the Western Kentucky counties of Allen, Ballard, Butler, Caldwell, Calloway, Carlisle, Christian, Crittenden, Edmonson, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Hopkins, Logan, Livingston, Lyon, Marshall, McCracken, McLean, Muhlenberg, Simpson, Todd, Trigg and Webster.

Judge Smallwood serves the 2nd Division of the 7th Appellate District, which is made up of the Eastern Kentucky counties of Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Elliott, Floyd, Greenup, Harlan, Johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Powell, Rowan and Wolfe.

Judge Taylor serves the 1st Division of the 2nd Appellate District, which is made up of the Western Kentucky counties of Barren, Breckinridge, Bullitt, Daviess, Grayson, Hancock, Hardin, Hart, Henderson, LaRue, Meade, Ohio, Union and Warren.

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